Friday, August 31, 2012


Life without opposites would be pretty darn boring. Bitter and sweet. Foreground and background. Image and reflection. If all the food tasted the same, we'd all be thinner but, probably, unhappier.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Excuse Me?

The insects and arachnids have been active lately. It is fall, the time to procreate and die for many species. Most of the spiders in their zigzag webs have died, and the ones that haven't are slowing down. I interrupted this grasshopper as it was fattening itself up; his indignation is justified. I hope that the reflecting in which I have been immersed does not mean I have entered the autumn of my years. I don't want to have to grow up just yet.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flower as Decoration Only

Every other day is better than every third day, I guess. I will take victories, even minor ones, where I can get them. I have been thinking rather than writing, thoughts so seemingly profound I am in awe of them. No, not really, though I do seem to be in a reflective mood of late. I really should write something, but I wrestle with the idea that such writing is a purely narcissistic activity since it would have no real purpose other than just doing it. What? Journalling as therapy? Given the convoluted nature of this post, I might need some. As for the photo, it's a wildflower, and I like it. No other reason for using it as opposed to another.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Alas, No Smurfs

I loved walking with my kids when they were little because they really helped me to look at the down and the little. While my eyes were watching the horizon and landscape, they were looking at their feet and under almost anything. There were no Smurfs under this toadstool this morning. Or perhaps it is a mushroom and not a toadstool. It does not matter. Unless I can inject some fantasy into my daily realities, there would still be no Smurfs here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Not so Itsy-Bitsy

We seem to be breeding these cool spiders (black-and-yellow argiopes according to our Audubon guide) in the bushes at the entrance to our subdivision. We counted eight webs, each with a resident arachnid, on the morning dog walk. One spider was in the process of preparing a meal-to-be-consumed-later; others were just hanging out. I do love the zig-zag through the web, a characteristic of this type of spider. I don't really like snakes, but find spiders and their webs quite intriguing. And, no, I didn't read Charlotte's Web until I was an adult, so it's not a vestige from my childhood.

Friday, August 24, 2012

For those Following

You can't say that the bumper stickers on my Element don't say a bit about me. Interestingly, I had to explain to one person the back story to the "Republicans for Voldemort" sticker down to who Harry Potter was. There was a time when I carried extra Voldemort stickers in the car because I was getting so many compliments in parking lots that I took to just handing out stickers. I've passed on some of the "I Ride Inside" ones this year, though I'm now out. No one has ever complained to me about any of the left-leaning stickers; perhaps the fact that I parented an Eagle Scout counts for something. Thanks, Steve!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Come into My Parlor

Remember the classic Far Side cartoon in which the spiders are spinning a web at the bottom of a slide to try to catch a small child? There's not quite the disparity in sizes here, but the smaller creature did come out on top. Other life lessons to be learned are that nature is not pretty and life is not fair. I already knew all that, but sometimes it is good to be reminded.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vive la First Amendment!

We have something called the Freedom of Speech wall here in Charlottesville. It's basically a large blackboard with chalk provided on which anyone can write anything. The photo above shows just one segment of the full monument. I particularly like what appears to be a math proof at the bottom. Nerds are plentiful here, which may be one reason I feel so at home.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Under Cover

One of my favorite quotes is from "Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood: "Apart from all this, I do of course have a real life. I sometimes have trouble believing it, because it doesn't seem like the kind of life I could ever get away with, or deserve. This goes along with another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise." Let's see how well I can impersonate an adult today. Ready. Set. And we're off....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Paper with a Sense of Humo(u)r

The Daniel Craig photo resides in one of my "books of interesting things." I had just added a Washington Post column by Mike Wise summing up his experience at the London Olympics and decided to leaf through the past entries. The Craig photo ran in the Post with the caption: "Here's Daniel Craig in the new Bond movie, opening Friday. We don't have any real reason for running this photo except, jeez, look at this guy. (italics in original) When I travel and read the newspapers in other cities, I am reminded how lucky I am to be able to consider the Post to be my daily newspaper. Good coverage of the national and international news coupled with a willingness to have a bit of fun from time to time. I like that in a paper.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Holey-er than Thou

You were expecting the combat garden gnomes today? Sorry--they're next up on the to-do list, not this blog. I probably should have worded things differently yesterday. My bad, and a segue into this morning's reflection on holes in one's self. Confucius noted that it was better to be "a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." Some days I feel more flawed than others, and wonder what Confucius would have said about a diamond with multiple flaws. Still better than a pebble? Given the immense pressure that it takes to make a diamond, it probably is. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it, for today anyway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nothing Says "Welcome" like a Heron

My dad made the totem pole. The heron, whose name is Pecan (pronounced with a long e sound), came back with us from our year in the Netherlands, making him old enough to drink legally. It was on the to-do list for some time, but we finally got them mounted to greet those arriving at our home. Next up, some combat garden gnomes in case those arriving harbor ill intentions.

Monday, August 13, 2012

At Least I Try To

I thought I would include a self portrait as a follow-up to yesterday's post. This is the t-shirt du jour. One of our karate masters has this shirt, and I've always loved it. When I found it online, I immediately ordered one. It doesn't bother me in the least that it's a copy of something someone else had first. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? And I do try to do all my own stunts, which you would have seen if you'd been walking the dog with us a week ago ... in the dark ... on a road covered in gravel ... going downhill. I can now say that I've done a front break fall onto gravel-covered pavement and emerged relatively unscathed. One bruised knee and a abrasion on the heel of each hand, and that was it. Face? Intact! Learning from karate how to do my own falls? Priceless!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Suited to a T

Lots of days I think I should grow up and wear something other than jeans or casual pants and a t-shirt though, working from home, I don't have to. Most of those days, I say screw it and dig a t-shirt out of one of my t-shirt drawers and put it on. One of the karate masters gave me a new t-shirt Friday; he figured it was a fair trade for the pies I make him. I wore it yesterday and expect I may wear it tomorrow. What can I say? T-shirts suit me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Loads of Little

I feel pulled in so many directions lately by too many little things. I picked up cat meds at the vet yesterday and discovered upon unbagging them last night that I had only gotten one bottle of something as opposed to the two I had paid for. That's a phone call for today and another trip into town today or tomorrow. That's just one of a long list of little things with which to deal. A big thing confronts you head-on; you deal with it and move past. With the little things, you knock down the first one only to face another ... and another ...and, you get the idea.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shades of Grey

Yes, I took a few days off. We'll say it was to look for layered shadows. I found a few, though they are hard to photograph. I shall find more because it is okay to keep looking or even start over. Starting over has been on my mind a lot as I watch the back-to-school activity in which I no longer participate. I am somewhat envious of my teacher friends who get to start each school year anew and who get to witness a new group of students learn and grow. Of course, the cycle of new beginnings is counterbalanced by a cycle of endings. Counterbalances have also been on my mind a lot, but that's a whole other story.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

I still regret never having had a breed analysis of our first family dog, Marburg, done. It seemed pretty clear that he had Corgi, German Shepherd, and Chow in him, but now I'm not so sure. We had a breed analysis done on Biscuit, and she is not what anyone believed (beagle and terrier). Drum roll. She actually had purebred grandparents and is, thus, a mixture of four breeds: Shih Tsu and Miniature Schnauzer on one side, and English Cocker Spaniel and English Foxhound on the other. In Biscuit's honor, I today remind myself that appearance can deceive and one should not assume anything.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Light Behind

I find shadows fascinating, and the morning light on the road to our house can yield some great ones. I now want to see if I can find (or make) and photograph some shadows upon shadows, darker shadows overlaying light ones. It's good to have goals. :-)